MANCHESTER UNITED and England legend Wayne Rooney has called time on his illustrious playing career to become manager of Derby County.
Rooney, 35, scored an all-time record 53 goals for England and is also United's record scorer with 253.
He joined Derby in a player-coach capacity a year ago from MLS side DC United and made 35 appearances for the club.
Rooney had been interim manager at Derby since the club sacked Dutchman Phillip Cocu in November.
The Merseyside born striker began his playing career with boyhood club Everton, and announced himself on the English stage in spectacular fashion.
He was 16 years and 360 days old when he scored his first Premier League goal – for Everton against Arsenal in October 2002 – making him then the youngest goalscorer in the competition's history.
Sven-Goran Eriksson gave Rooney his first England cap at just 17.
The teenager responded by lighting up Euro 2004 in his first major tournament appearance before being sidelined by an injury.
In the same summer he moved to Manchester United for £26million, breaking the record transfer fee for a teenager.
Rooney enjoyed great success at Old Trafford, and is the only player to have scored more than 250 goals for the Red Devils, eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton's record in 2017.
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He won five Premier League titles with Man Utd plus the Champions League in 2008.
In 2017 he returned to Everton, before moving to DC United in 2018.
Rooney was sadly never able to replicate his incredible displays at Euro 2004 at a future tournament, and was sent off during England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal in 2006.
He did however become the Three Lions' record goal-scoring with 53 strikes.
He is also England's most capped outfield player, with 120 international appearances, five short of Peter Shilton's overall record.
Rooney had a roller-coaster career with several highs and lows – including his red card vs Portugal after he was judged to have stamped onMan Utd team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronnie was caught winking to his team-mates after the incident which threatened to de-rail the team spirit Sir Alex Ferguson had nurtured at Old Trafford.
However reflecting on the incident last year, Rooney said: "I knew it was a red card.
"And back in the dressing room I watched the rest of the game on a little TV, thinking: 'If we win this, I’m suspended for a World Cup semi-final and final and if we lose it’s my fault.'
"It was the worst, weirdest feeling I’ve had in football. I had my phone in my hand and I was getting all these messages about Ronaldo.
"Of course, when he ran over to ask Elizondo [the ref] to send me off I pushed him away.
"In that moment I couldn’t believe what he was doing. But sitting in that dressing room gave me time to calm down and think.
"I put myself in Ronaldo’s shoes. Would I do the same? Probably.
"Would I be in the ref’s face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win – yes, no question."
The pair swiftly made up and went on to win the Premier League together at United in the following season.
West Ham boss David Moyes gave Rooney his debut as a 16-year-old at Everton and also managed him at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney’s playing career
Wayne Rooney has retired from playing after an illustrious 18-year career with the following clubs.
- Everton 2002-04
- Manchester United – 2004-17
- Everton – 2017-18
- DC United – 2018-20
- Derby County – 2020-21
Moyes said: "I knew him as a boy and he was a tremendous young player, someone who we were amazed with his abilities for someone so young.
"From 16 onwards, we got him his debut and everyone knows his career from then. Manchester United's leading goalscorer, England's leading goalscorer. So he's had an incredible career.
"If he's chosen to stop playing I'm sure it will be for the right reasons and because he wants his future to be in management.
"He's going into a different world now completely and not all the best players have gone on to be the best managers.
“But Wayne's love of the game, his drive, just his attitude will give him every chance of being successful."
Rooney's retirement was recognised by the England official Twitter account, which posted: "A #ThreeLions legend.
"Congratulations on a fantastic playing career, @WayneRooney! Wishing you all the best in management."
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